“The Man in the Glass”

I am deviating from my standard Posts here because “The Man in the Glass” (originally “The Guy in the Glass”), was not written by me, but rather by Dale Wimbrow in 1934.

It has become  the most often quoted poem in A.A. programs, and was recently introduced to me by a friend who obviously knew me well enough to think that I would like it. Well she was a little wrong in that thinking. I have been exposed to many motivational speakers and read lots of poems in the same genre,  but “The Man in the Glass” went beyond liking it. I totally loved it!

The version below (as used by A.A.) has some minor word changes in order to bring it up to date.

Thx Trae ( https://tripleclicka.wordpress.com ) for sharing.


When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you King for a day
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
And see what That man has to say.

For it isn’t your father, or mother, or wife
Whose judgment upon you must pass;
The fellow who’s verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.

Some people may think you’re a straight talking chum
And call you a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum
If you can’t look him straight in the eye.

He’s the fellow to please, never mind all the rest,
For he’s with you clear up to the end.
You’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the man in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of life,
And get pats on your back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.

25 thoughts on ““The Man in the Glass”

    • I hope it stays with you forever as life will constantly take you in different directions such that you could easily “lose yourself”. This poem is like a road map to the real you. Take it out regularly to stay in touch with who you are. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. this is reflective …like alice in wonderland before she fight the dragon she must know who she is ….she have choices and she choose her heart . The story of transformation between a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. I must know who I am to be happy and free.

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  2. I have worn a mask ever since my son died 9 years ago. Yet, when I look into the mirror everyday, I see Bobby’s Mom, struggling to hold on to life as it is now. I also see Danny’s wife who struggles to make things right once again.
    I see Debbie In the mirror. Mom To Bobby.
    I see Sarah in the Mirror . Wife to Danny.
    I see me. Torn between the 2.
    (Sarah is a nickname) I love both names.
    I miss being a mom
    Thank you for sharing this.
    Sharing it myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve read this poem many years ago. There is so much in the poem- very profound and appropriate for anyone with a drinking problem. Once of my patients years ago showed the poem to me. He carried the poem tucked into an AA book.

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    • Hi Yvonne. That poem has been adopted by NA and various other addiction treatment programs so goes well beyond drinking problems. I would suggest that the message in the poem should be a mantra for all of us to consider as I know so many people who amaze me that they can actually sleep at might. Our culture is so dominated by an apparent “self serving” philosophy that perhaps we all need to periodically stop and take a good hard look at ourselves in a mirror. I suspect that many people would say “Who are you? I don’t know you anymore!”

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  4. Thank you for sharing such a great way to explain that we can never run from ourselves. Real contentment, happiness, and peacefulness is reached when we are in tune with ourselves. We can lie at the world but never at us! Thank you, Colin! Fantastic!!!

    Liked by 3 people

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